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FSA sets out ‘specialist’ independent advice boundaries

The FSA has set out where firms can specialise in specific forms of advice and still meet the requirements of independence.

In its independent and restricted advice guidance published today, the regulator gives a series of examples where firms may specialise in one type of advice and retain the independent label.

The guidance states the likely areas where this could be the case are firms who specialise in Islamic financial investments, trusts and charities or firms that provide advice only on annuities and drawdown products.

It says: “We expect there to be a limited number of common relevant markets in which a firm could specialise, restrict its product range accordingly and meet the independent advice rules.”

The guidance goes on to say firms do not need to recommend unregulated collective investment schemes unregulated collective investment schemes to remain independent.

The regulator will undertake a consultation on UCIS in 2012 in which it will set out that they are suitable for very few retail clients, if any.

The FSA says firms which do not offer specialist types of advice, such as pension transfers and pension opt-outs and long-term care insurance, can still hold themselves out to be independent as long as they can identify clients with such needs and refer them to someone who can offer such advice.


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There are 2 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Could the FSA please consider reducing the levels of confusion for everyone and remove UCIS from the list of Retail Investment Products?
    I know it’s not an original idea; I’ve suggested it many times, but their inclusion gets less defensible with every FSA pronouncement.

  2. They won’t do that because, as carefully spelt out in the paper, this would mean that it would by deduction become something on which commission could be payable … UCIS, like VCTs, meets the definition – and it’s imposible to know how many more times we have to say that just because it’s defined in the list (like VCTs) doesn’t mean you have to sell it, especially if you can’t meet the promotions criteria and you have no suitable clients …

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